PENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — As Phase 1 of reopening in North Carolina beings Friday, one county in the Cape Fear is asking Governor Roy Cooper to consider a different approach when it comes to reopening the state.
Pender County is asking Cooper to consider each county’s needs individually.
“Maybe one size does not always fit all,” County Commission Chairman George Brown said.
Brown says there are still safety measures needed to protect everyone, but he’s asking Cooper for a little flexibility at the local level to allow them to adjust accordingly.
“This is creating a lot of hardship to the point that where a lot of businesses are having to consider whether they’re even going to be able to open again,” he said.
The pandemic has taken a toll on people everywhere. After seeing the struggle in his own county, Brown wrote to Cooper asking for a little more local control over restrictions.
“It is in no way asking, to say, just let us do our own thing here,” Brown said. “We’re going to ignore all the safety precautions.”
Instead, Brown is asking the Governor to look at each county on a case-by-case basis, and grant certain counties a little flexibility to get more businesses back open.
“Continuing with the sanitization efforts and the social distancing and all the things which I think, at the end of the day, are your best defense,” he said.
Right now, Pender County has fewer cases than most in the state, and Brown points out many of them are contained to Pender Correctional Institution.
Being a smaller county, he says Pender relies extremely heavily on its local businesses, a lot of which are still recovering from Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Matthew.
“It devastated a lot of businesses during those events, and they just started coming out of some of that,” he said.
Brown also suggests allowing certain counties to go through reopening phases a little more quickly than others which might have more cases. He says they just want to be a little more involved in this process.
“Please allow the communities, the local governments in the county, to have the opportunity to weigh in and make some of these decisions on a local level,” Brown said.
Even if the county is granted some flexibility, Brown says you can expect social distancing measures to stay in place. So far, Brown says he hasn’t heard back from the Governor yet.